Encore Casino Analyzing Changes Under New State Closures, Will Close Gaming Floor at 9 P.M.

The impact to the workforce at the Encore Boston Harbor casino is still being analyzed after the major rollback of hours by Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday due to escalating case numbers statewide – a rollback that will take effect on Friday and is still an uncertainty as to how it will affect the casino and other businesses in Everett.

On Monday, Gov. Baker put a new stay-at-home curfew statewide from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., calling on businesses of many types to close by 9:30 p.m. to in-person services, including restaurants that are already hurting and the casino which had just gotten some gains in bringing back the Roulette game to its offerings.

The governor cited that cases are up statewide 278 percent since Labor Day, and hospitalizations are up 145 percent in the same time period.

“These measures are meant to disrupt rising trends now, so the Commonwealth can keep the economy and schools open for residents and to prevent the need to roll back to Phase I or Phase II of the reopening plan,” he said in a press conference on Monday afternoon.

All orders and advisories will be effective Friday, Nov. 6 at 12:01 a.m.

Encore Spokesperson Rosie Salisbury said they will analyze the business demand under the new regulations, but they fully support the governor’s new regulations.

“We’re still analyzing the impact to our operations and making adjustments accordingly,” said Salisbury. “We need to better understand what the business demand will be under this new operating model. Encore Boston Harbor supports and will adhere to the additional directives put forth by the Commonwealth aimed to reduce the ongoing risk to public health. As a result, the resort will adjust its operating hours to be in compliance with new regulations.”

The new casino operating hours will be 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week, beginning Friday, Nov. 6.

In addition, all hotel reservations at Encore Boston Harbor have been cancelled through Dec. 15. Wynn Resorts has a quarterly earnings call on Thursday, Nov. 5, and the matter is likely to come up during that call.

The early closure of businesses comes at a time when many restaurants and licensed establishments – such as bar and grill setups with alcohol sales – had been struggling with an 11 p.m. closing time across the board. Now, with a 9:30 p.m. closing time, many will struggle to keep the doors open.

The specifics of the business closures are as follows:

Effective Nov. 6, the following businesses and activities must close to the public each day between the hours of 9:30 p.m. and 5 a.m. A full list can be access at the state’s website.

*Restaurants (in-person dining must cease at 9:30 p.m., although takeout and delivery may continue for food and non-alcoholic beverages, but not alcohol)

*Liquor stores and other retail establishments that sell alcohol must cease alcohol sales at 9:30 p.m. (but may continue to sell other products)

*Adult-use marijuana sales must cease at 9:30 p.m. (not including medical marijuana)

*Indoor & outdoor events

*Theaters/movie theaters (including drive-in movie theaters), and performance venues (indoor and outdoor)

*Youth and adult amateur sports activities

*Golf facilities

*Recreational boating and boating businesses

*Outdoor recreational experiences

*Casinos and horse tracks/simulcast facilities

*Driving and flight schools

*Zoos, botanical gardens, wildlife reserves, nature centers

*Close contact personal services (such as hair and nail salons)

*Gyms, Fitness Centers and Health Clubs

*Indoor and outdoor pools

*Museums/cultural & historical facilities/guided tours

Gov. Baker’s announcement on Monday also included an updated face covering mandate in public places, and a reduction for gatherings – which have been a prime area for spreading COVID-19 this fall.

The new gatherings order reduces the gathering size limit for gatherings at private residences: indoor gatherings at private residences are limited to 10 people and outdoor gatherings at private residences are limited to 25 people. The limit on gatherings held in public spaces and at event venues (e.g. wedding venues) remains the same. The new order also requires that all gatherings (regardless of size or location) must end and disperse by 9:30 p.m.

The new gatherings order also requires that organizers of gatherings report known positive COVID-19 cases to the local health department in that community and requires organizers to cooperate with contact tracing. The gatherings order authorizes continued enforcement by local health and police departments and specifies that fines for violating the gathering order will be $500 for each person above the limit at a particular gathering.

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